Tag: microtransactions

Mobile games come under regulatory scrutiny in the EU

EU regulators take action on the problems associated with mobile apps and their microtransactions

Mobile games are massively popular, but many of these games may be marketed under false pretenses that they are free. In the U.S., federal regulators are pushing for mobile platforms to curb the growing problem of young children making unauthorized purchases through mobile applications. In the European Union, regulators have begun following suit, taking steps to ensure that apps that feature microtransactions are no longer marketed as free and purchases made through these applications are appropriately authorized.

Microtransactions are leading to unauthorized in-app purchases

Microtransactions have become a very common aspect of the mobile app world. In mobile gaming, in-app purchases are one of the best ways for developers to generate revenue from their creations. In these games, players can often purchase upgrades or buy digital currency that can be used to unlock special content. Because mobile games are particularly popular among children and young adults, unauthorized purchases have become a problematic issue.

Games cannot be marketed as free if they also include microtransactions

mobile games under scrutinyThe EU Consumer Protection Cooperation Network has determined that games that are advertised as free cannot also have microtransactions. Google, Apple, and other providers of mobile games will have to remove such games from their store platforms in the European Union. Google has had a somewhat cavalier response to the ruling and has begun taking steps to weed out such games from its store platform, but Apple has been less inclined to accommodate the new rules.

Issue has more to do with marketing rather than microtransactions themselves

The European Commission notes that Apple has yet to take any sufficient action on the matter. Apple has proposed its intention to address the issue of microtransactions, but has not yet made any effort to do so. These transactions are a major revenue stream for app stores, allowing these stores to generate profit for their parent company. Some argue that microtransactions are vital to the growth and survival of mobile games, but the issue is mostly about marketing and not about an application’s ability to generate profit.

Mobile games are influencing the future of the game industry

Mobile gaming is more than just a fad

The game industry is beginning to evolve as it puts more focus on the mobile sector. The mobile games market has been heavily saturated for some time, but large publishers and development studios that had initially been averse to the concept of mobile gaming are beginning to enter into the market with their own products. As mobile gaming continues to grow in popularity, the practices that have become common in the mobile gaming business are also becoming common in the overall game industry.

The game industry has been focusing more heavily on the mobile sector for good reason. Mobile games represent one of the most lucrative aspects of gaming today, with some 247 separate game companies earning more than $1 million in mobile revenue in the U.S. alone. Google, which provides access to a wide range of mobile gaming applications, has seen more than 300 million downloads for the mobile games it supports, with the developers of these games bringing in a collective $600 million. These may be astonishing numbers, but Google is widely considered within the game industry to be the least lucrative market for mobile gaming applications.

Mobile Games to influence game industry futureMany people enjoy mobile games because they are simple in nature and can be played anywhere and at any time. They offer on-demand entertainment that people have come to expect thanks to their growing reliance on mobile technology. Moreover, people have shown that they are willing to spend money on these games, whether it is the price for purchasing the game or buying in-game items, digital currencies, and bonuses that make gameplay more enjoyable.

Microtransactions, a term that represents in-game purchases, have become somewhat infamous among consumers. Some people claim that mobile games are nothing more than cash grabs, using microtransactions to take advantage of people that are willing to spend their money. These microtransactions are becoming a more integral part of traditional gaming, with developers and publishers introducing in-game purchases in order to cater to a more mobile-centric audience.  As mobile games continue to gain prominence, they may end up determining the course of the game industry’s future, which may cause a serious division between consumers and game developers that have an interest in microtransactions.